Some problems with context awareness

Nice list of examples of past problems, from Erickson (2002):

  • Spying a newsrack, Tom pulls his rented car to the side of the street and hops out to grab a paper. The car, recognizing the door has just closed and the engine is running, locks its doors.
  • In the midst of her finely honed closing pitch, Susan’s prospective clients watch intently as her screensaver kicks in and the carefully crafted text of her slide slowly morphs into flowing abstract shapes that gradually dissolve into blackness.
  • “What a cretin,” Roger mutters as the CEO finishes his presentation, unaware, for the moment, that the high-tech speaker phone in the table’s center has triangulated on his whisper and upped its gain to broadcast his remark to the meeting’s remote audience.


Thomas Erickson (2002). Some problems with the notion of context-aware computing: Ask not for whom the cell phone tolls. Communications of the ACM, 45(2), 102-104.